Thursday, December 29, 2011

Coach Confession: Poor Bike Fit and How to Fix It

So first my confession!  As a long time coach that has worked with hundreds of cyclists I have learned that in some areas, I do not always practice what I preach.  Today, lets talk about bike fit.  For years I have had a very strange position that has been comfortable for me.  I am 5'8" with average numbers but like to ride my saddle way back with handlebars low and streched.  I have worked with some good fitters before and always get the same results, slightly lower my saddle, bring saddle way forward, slightly raise and shorten my stem.  In the past I have returned home from each fit to find myself drifting into my old position within....maybe 3 days.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, I am officially "unteachable".

Guru DFU
That being said, I got away with it for years but eventually it happened.  This fall I started picking up some left knee pain that I ignored.  It promptly developed into a nice case of Patella Tendonitis and put me off the bike for a week.  My position puts my knees way back of the standard KOPS and as I have aged, and lost some flexibility and strength, my body just wouldn't tolerate this position any longer.

So, with a new found commitment to change, I really needed to get it right so I went to see Stu Waring at our newest Peaks Power Training Center at Parvilla Cycles in Annapolis, MD.  Stu is an excellent fitter with tons of experience.  Parvilla cycles also has and amazing piece of equipment in the Guru DFU (Dynamic Fit Unit) that allows for fully automated position adjust while actually riding the bike.  No more jumping on and off the bike to make changes then try top remember how last position felt

Now to the good stuff!  First, Stu really know his stuff. We went through ha battery of flexibility tests and measurements on me first.  I really appreciated his thoroughness even before we started fiddling with the bike or the DFU.  Once I was all measure up, he did the same to my bike.  The goal was to exactly mimic my current position on the DFU and use that as a starting point.  Once everything was entered, Stu captured the "starting point" data and we got started!

Warming up on the DFU!  Three screens gave me great info; Screen 1 my current position numbers, Screen 2 motion capture video and Screen 3 Computrainer Spin Scan to better analyze effects of change!

Once warmed up we took a battery of measurements and video analysis and made some determination of change "needed".  Here is where the DFU unit really worked its magic.  If you remember my opening paragraph I have always had a really bad position so my changes were significant.  Typically when I go to a fit, I have to jump off bike at this phase while the fitter changes all items on my bike then when I jump on the change feels way to drastic.  On the DFU unit two things made this much better.  First, I never stopped peddling.  I was able to warm-up and just keep pedaling through the changes and this really allowed me to feel the change.  Second, he made the changes in three proportional steps over the course of about 20 minutes of pedaling so I was able to adjust in "baby-steps".  This was crucial for me as it allowed my to adjust to each step before going forward and I was better able to adjust both physically and mentally to the position.

Once we got into the new position, the fine tuning work began.  Deep analysis of knee tracking, hip movements and stroke via observation and video and we were really making progress.  A few cleat adjustments and tweak or two (or 20) to the new position and we had it dialed in.  One of the most amazing things is after being on the bike for about two hours and making all this change Stu looked me a said "here is where you started", pushed a button and the DFU took me back to my original position in seconds.  WOW, how was I ever riding that!!!

Doing some final tweaking!

So in the end, two thumbs up to Stu and Parvilla Cycles!  Have about 100 miles on new position (sorry Stu, I rode more then you said I paragraph one :-)! ) and things feeling great. Pressure is off knee and I am smoother on the bike.  Here is a great promotional video about Stu and the system, check it out, pretty amazing!

So if looking for a great fit, give Stu and Parvilla Cycles a shout!!

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